Efficiency at Green Garden Means a lot of different things.
efficiency includes intake(DMI), feed conversion(RADG, F:G, RFI),
growth(ADG, CW, RE, $B), and maintenance($EN, MW), all of these things
factor into efficiency in a cow herd.
One of the first
things we ask new customers is "What are your goals with your cow herd?"
This can give us a direction to provide our customer with the best product
What does Efficiency mean for you?
With all the new EPDs and Indexes, it can be hard to pinpoint what
efficiency means for you as a producer. Do you want cows that produce well
and don’t eat a lot? Do you want calves that will finish faster with
less feed and high quality grade? Do you have harsh conditions that
need more rugged individuals? Do you have an abundance of forage that need
high quality early finishing cattle?
Green Garden has the #1 and #2 DMI current sires of the breed. Some people
say "Great, but doesn’t that just mean they are smaller cattle?" That all
depends on how efficiently they convert what they eat.
Gardens Pay Back
is #1 of current Angus for DMI with -1.54, and he also has an RADG of +.31
putting him in the top 3% of the breed. That means that he doesn’t eat much,
but what he does eat he converts into pounds He was one of the first animals
we put through feed test in Iowa. Pay Back ate 18lbs of feed a day and
gained 5.29 lbs/day while on test with an adjusted yearling weight of 1215,
while Gardens Image M01 ate 32 pounds of feed and gained 5.01 pounds per day
and weighed 1230 at yearling. Pay Back made us sit up and take notice, if we
could consistently produce cattle that eat 5 to 15 pounds of feed a day less
and still have the same amount of gain, that would be a huge economic
benefit to our customers. His sire Gardens Tsunami I36 is the #2 DMI bull of
the breed, his ADG was 4.64 and his adjusted yearling weight was 1315. These
animals are not scrawny, non-performing cattle, they are simply extremely
efficient, while keeping mature size in check. They are not the biggest
animals, but they are by no means the smallest. This is where we think the
industry is heading, especially with the blowback we are starting to see
from packing plants about carcass size.
while visiting with friends at the American Angus Association annual
meeting, the importance of feed efficiency in the livestock was discussed.
Those conversations spurred us to find a test station to see how the Green
Garden herd was stacking up to otherrs in the Angus industry. We sent
25 bulls out of 5 different sires to the Hays Beef Development Center in
Iowa, to find out who was eating how much and who was converying well. The
results of that 1st test showed a significant difference in individual data,
some of the animals that we assumed would do well ended up at the bottom of
the list. The lowest DMI (Dry Matter Intake) was 19.0 and the highest was
29.7, from a feed cost point of view that is a huge difference.
We continued testing bulls in Iowa for the next 3 years, 25 in the spring
and 25 in the fall, and continued to see a wide spread from the highest and
lowest intake animals. Additional feed efficiency studies led us to consider
testing our young females as well as bulls. So in 2013, we installed
our own GrowSafe system, now we can test all of our young animals without
having to pick and choose who we think will do well. Our replacement females
are selected from the top 1/3 for a combination of DMI and ADG, along with
our stringent carcass requirements. We are seeing a directional change in
our program using the information from the GrowSafe System, and look forward
to seeing how we can keep improving our product for our customers.